It seems as though Verne had a clever idea for a short story (that is, he had the conclusion, or "hook", for a puzzle-type story), but needing a round-the-world tour to make it work, found himself writing a novel that he really had relatively little interest in. As a result, the story doesn't really heat up until the very end, and even there the final twist will not manage to surprise many contemporary readers. A very light entertainment, but no longer very impressive or imaginative in a world where astronauts orbit the globe in hours. This story might have seemed remarkable to those born before the days when commercial aviation made the world such a small place, but younger readers will probably find this book far too tame to suit their tastes. [continues]
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